Update – The Senate Republican caucus appears to have backed away from the signed budget pledge referred to in this story. It will be updated if other developments occur.
Republican senators are being asked to sign a pledge to support every budget item approved by Senate President Cathy Giessel and her leadership team, or lose their membership in the Majority Caucus.
Must Read Alaska has learned that the pledge has been signed by most senators and covers the operating, capital, supplemental, “reverse sweep” and Permanent Fund dividend appropriation. It means that halfway through the two-year session, the rules of the Majority caucus are different, and the leadership wants it in writing from all members.
The majority caucus meets at 2 pm and the remaining senators who have not signed the pledge will be confronted with their final decision about whether to be included with the rest of the Republicans.
The move follows a complete reorganization of the Senate on Tuesday, where the most conservative members were stripped of their committee chairmanships and committee memberships. Sen. Mike Shower, Senate Seat E, lost membership in five committees and three subcommittees, and lost two chairmanships. Sen. Lora Reinbold, Sen. Mia Costello, Sen. Peter Micciche, and Sen. Shelley Hughes were also put in the corner.
The move would mean the Senate would likely change to a bipartisan majority with Sen. Tom Begich, a Democrat, as one of its more influential members.
Losing membership in the Republican Majority would mean anyone who does not sign the pledge will lose staff and will likely be relegated to a small office.